Pay it Forward

Sitting at the bar of my favorite restaurant, a lady starts burning money. She literally took the note and put it to the candle flame.

Interesting reactions followed this act. Some said it was against the law, some complained that it could have bought a drink. But overall everybody showed their underlying attachment to money.

Funny thing money, in our society most of us perceive it as the sole means of surviving. Because of this perception we either have a fear or greed attachment to it. Both emotions are deeply rooted in a belief system of want or scarcity.

This map in our brain dictates that our survival is dependent on an external source. A source that is not under our control, so we either live in fear that we will die if the source dries up, or we want to ensure we have as much of it for ourselves before everything is taken.

This is rather crippling would you not agree?

In my mind the healthier and more natural belief system is to accept that there is enough of everything and acknowledging that I am part of the bigger picture. Therefore I have a contribution to make and therefore I may receive what I am in need of.

Let us take an economic lesson from nature. A tree takes freely from the ground what it needs – nourishment, stability etc. and it gives freely –shade, oxygen, fruit etc. This is the natural way of abundance.

Yes, sometimes there are droughts. The tree then takes less and gives less. Sometimes trees die. But even in their death they give. They become the compost for the next generation of trees.

So we see, even in scarcity, the principle of give and receive works. The key learning is that we must seek a win-win way if living.

What I found very interested is that the give and receive (win-win) is not necessarily linear. More often than not what you give comes back in an indirect way. Some people call this the principle of paying it forward.

My good friend Hennie taught me this principle. I am grateful for all the investments he made in my life and I recently started to pay these investments forward.

What a pleasant experience. The immediate ROI was an experience of psychological well-being. Experiencing a quality of life that money cannot buy. The longer term experience I have is that because one’s hand is open in the process of giving, it is also open to receive and be blessed.

Very important to keep in mind is that in between the giving and the receiving is a huge gap that must be filled with hard work (I know you did not think this process happens magically). Remember we are part of the bigger picture and we do have a contribution to make.

May I invite you to tell me about your giving and receiving? Tell me about your hard work and the well-being that you experience?

In Abundance


Return on Investment on thinking

The year is coming to a rapid end. Most of us have invested heavily in this year. We invested huge amounts of energy, thoughts, actions and money. What did we get in return for our investment?

When Businesses look at ROI they look at the figures, but figures are not the only return we can get. Investing time to play with your child is returned with a warm hug. Investing in being considerate to your life partner has returns of appreciation.

These are valid returns on our investments but not measurable beyond the subjective experience we have. The standard assumption is that ROI must be measurable.

Take coaching for example. In 2009 the International Coaching Federation conducted a worldwide survey under coaching clients and suggests that there is an average return on investment for coaching of 700%.

That is quite a lot. 100% ROI means you get your money back. 700% means you get 7 times your money back.

My question is how you measure the ROI of learning how to think properly. Thinking effectively is the major value-add of coaching.

We all think. Unfortunately most of us are not aware of what we are thinking. For most of the time our thoughts are on autopilot. Letting our mind run freely on maps created by our experience and conditioning.

For most of the time, this is fine. We really do not need to concentrate on how to tie our shoes. The challenge comes when we start to interpret the interactions with our environment. Then we easily fall into ineffective thinking habits.

Examples of these are:

1.      Overgeneralization – You see danger in things that only remotely resemble the object or event you are avoiding.

2.      Catastrophe – You blow things out of proportion, always thinking of the worst possible outcome.

3.      Rigidity – You see things only in black and white.  You can’t tolerate uncertainty or ambiguity.  Things are either good or bad, and because of your overgeneralization, selective perception and lack of proportions, most things end up looking bad.

4.      Perfectionism – You convince yourself that you must be perfect and feel anxiety and stress over the fear that you will not live up to your expectations.

5.      Unrealistic expectations – You demand perfection.  You insist on a life free of challenges, tests and traumas.

Recognize any?

These think habits have a negative ROI. It results in stress, unhappiness, fear and strained relationships.

If coaching could turn this around, is it worthwhile to invest in it?

Thinking with you